In the New Brunswick School District, many parents have dreams for their children, but not the economic ability to provide the “extras” that often make these dreams reachable. Many students come from cultures where music is an integral part of their lives. And, research also shows that the connection between music and school is a “hook” that can help children resolve to stay in school and succeed.

The New Brunswick school board and superintendent wanted to create a school band, but did not have instruments or musicians. The board provided the solution by finding a program through VH1 that provided instruments to schools, beginning in 2006. Their commitment went beyond finding the equipment needed and writing the grant application. Board members attended all concerts, from the earliest ones, and student musicians were soon playing to top reviews!
Student participation has grown from 400 to 1,500, and test scores have increased. The instrumental music program expanded to allow for creation of a Latino Salsa Band that has played numerous “gigs” for officials, educators and parents in New Brunswick. Mostly recently, they were invited to perform at Lord & Taylor’s flagship store reopening in New York City.

Instrumental music students in New Brunswick realize how great they can be and, more important, they have discovered that school can be a very positive and rewarding place to be!


Contact: Dr. John Anzul, assistant superintendent for instruction,

Designated as a Notable Program by the National School Boards Association Magna Awards